UAB Medicine News
UAB Weight Loss Patient Drops 100 Pounds after ‘Disastrous’ Anniversary Trip
David Sears before (on the left) and after (on the right) his experience with the UAB Weight Loss Medicine Clinic.
I came to the clinic in April 2017 after a disastrous experience on my 10th anniversary trip to Orlando with my wife. We had dubbed this trip our “wrestleversary,” as we were planning to go to several wrestling events centered on WrestleMania and then spend the rest of the week at Walt Disney World. On the Monday of our trip, I began to experience severe spotting on my legs. My wife thought I was having an allergic reaction to a plant I brushed up against at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and I thought I had come into contact with something while walking through the dirt parking lot at the stadium.
As the trip went on, the rash intensified, and I developed severe pain and a fever. We went to a “doc in a box” near Disney property and had it checked out. My blood pressure was 155/100, and my weight was 377 pounds. The doctor diagnosed me with cellulitis, which is a precursor to flesh-eating bacteria. My obesity had caused my legs to become swollen and incredibly painful. I bawled in the doctor’s office because we were going to have to end our trip early to get me back home. My obesity had cost us an opportunity to have a wonderful anniversary trip.
Natural ApproachWhen I arrived at the UAB Weight Loss Medicine clinic, I was greeted by a friendly staff. After filling out a questionnaire, I went to the back and stepped on a machine to measure my weight and body fat percentage. The numbers scared me, but they also were a visual representation of what I needed to work on to get better. After my measurements were taken, I met with Monica Agarwal, MD, who went over my options for treating my obesity. She was very helpful and friendly with her advice. She was stern but not condescending about my weight and came up with a reduced calorie plan – paired with exercise – to help me lose the weight naturally. She was adamant about bariatric surgery being the absolute last resort for me if I could not lose the weight.
David Sears holds up his left hand to display his wedding band, which now fits since he's lost the weight.I’m not going to lie and say the diet and exercise plan were easy. I had to learn self-discipline, which fortunately was possible with the great dietician, Karin Crowell, and the excellent behavioral therapist, Christina Pierpaoli Parker. Their combined efforts and planning helped me stay motivated through the arduous process of taking this weight off naturally.
I began tracking my calories and exercise, and I slowly started dropping weight. I stuck to the process and was able to lose over 100 pounds! It was not easy. There were days that I craved chicken wings or other unhealthy foods, but luckily Christina and Karin had helped me develop ways to deal with my cravings.
Portion ControlI am not perfect when it comes to sticking to my diet, but I have more days on it than off it. I occasionally schedule a treat day, when I have a smaller portion of foods I used to binge on. I have learned portion control for my meals, so instead of devouring a large pizza, I have a few slices of a medium pizza. I get my pizza itch scratched, and I don’t go crazy with the calories. I understand that it is okay to treat myself, but I have to do so in moderation. We will always want certain foods, and it’s okay to have them. I just make sure I don’t go overboard with them.
I am healthier now than I was a year ago. I’m still working on getting to my goal percentages and understand that weight is a number, not a definition of me. My blood work has come back with great numbers, and my liver has gone from foie gras (a French term for fatty liver) to being healthy. I can work out for two hours at a time and walk for miles without having to stop for breaks. My blood pressure is at a great level, and my overall health is much better than when I weighed 377 pounds.
I owe a lot of my success to Dr. Agarwal, Christina, and Karin for giving me the tools to work on myself. They showed me what I needed to do to be successful. The one thing they couldn’t do for me, however, was make me do it. I had to decide for myself that I was going to change, get healthier, and lose weight. Once I had made those commitments to myself, the program became so much easier and more manageable.
David Sears stands with the UAB Weight Loss Medicine team.I am forever grateful to Dr. Agarwal, Christina, and Karin for showing me the way and believing in me almost as much as my wife has. If you have made the decision to lose weight, I cannot recommend the UAB Weight Loss Medicine clinic enough!
Click here to learn more about UAB Weight Loss Medicine services.
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